There’s a story behind every Lush product, and none more so than the Lush World Knot Wrap - a psychedelic reusable gift wrap. Just where did the inspiration come from for the central piece in this year’s Christmas gifts collection?
Everything is dusted with snow. Thousands of fairy lights wind around trees, and cling to the eaves of shops that line cobbled streets. As they dart between fairground rides and market stalls, people warm their hands over fire pits - among them, the Lush gift team. This is Liseberg Park in Sweden, the inspiration for the Lush World Knot Wrap.
“It had an energy to it that we thought was really playful,” says Lush gift design lead, Emma Caswell. You can tell how much Liseberg inspired her, as she energetically describes the boats decked out in fairy lights that bob along the river in the park.
Back in Poole, as the team pours through photos and videos that they gathered from their inspiration trip, they come across the park map that they’d seen in Liseberg, laying out all the different areas in a bold design.
“We thought, wouldn’t it be cool if we could design a Knot Wrap that was like the Lush world map, with different areas like manufacturing, 29 High Street, the Showcase, and the Lush Players,” Emma says.
A Knot Wrap is born
The team wanted this to be the centerpiece for Christmas 2019, and for elements from all the other gifts to be represented within the design.
Enter Lauren Morsley and Natalia Zajdel from Lush shops in Scotland. They’d both spent a little time with the gifts team before, and were invited back in to design the Lush World Knot Wrap, in part due to their aptitude for architectural design.
“We were given a beautiful brief full of images and styles that had influenced the gift design team. As Lauren and I started the project, we separated it into three main parts: buildings, characters, and nature. We were mostly inspired by Scandinavian architecture and winter scenery,” Natalia says.
Lauren and Natalia wanted to mix the traditional vintage feel of the Liseberg map with a graphic style. They knew they wanted to include Lush products, but there was also so much of the process they wanted to represent in the design too, showing how products go from being handmade in the factory, to arriving with customers.
“We started out by roughly drawing layouts and coming up with ideas for all the characters and areas that we wanted to be included. Then it came to drawing each element separately, which was a long task!” Lauren says.
They whipped out their fineliner pens, and drew pages and pages of buildings, trees, quirky characters, and anything else that might belong in the Lushoverse - plus elements of every item in the 2019 Christmas gift range. Natalia loves animals, so was happy they could sneak in plenty of critters - including wolves howling at the top of the mountains, and a family of boars hidden in the forest.
Once all the individual elements had been designed, it was time to put them together. They included sailboats with patterns from the gifts range, bath bomb planets in the sky, and Halloween characters lurking in the forest. There are skiers riding down the mountain on soaps and washcards, Lush factory workers scaling huge bath bombs, and co-founder Mark Constantine taking a bath while observing the Lush world.
It’s not just the design of each Knot Wrap that has to be considered. The team needs to think about the size, the colours, and about the materials used.
“Because this Knot Wrap is such a feature for this Christmas, we wanted to make it a bigger size,” Emma says.
The intricacy of the design also meant the team wanted this Knot Wrap to be as big as it could be, so that people could see all the details and the energy of the psychedelic colours. The 100cm size they settled on makes a big statement, and is made with recycled plastic bottles - each wrap contains six of them. But the material doesn’t feel like plastic, and is soft to the touch, making it perfect for all sorts of Knot Wrap creations.
“A Knot Wrap is something you don’t just use once, you can use it again and again,” Emma says.
The Lush World Knot Wraps that now hang in shops around the world could go on to be anything - reusable wrapping paper, a hair scarf, a bag, or they could even be sewn up into a cushion or wall hanging. In fact, each wrap might be used for more than one thing. Imagination has gone into designing a map of everything Lush, and imagination will go into how they’re used out in the world.